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HS KICKOFF COUNTDOWN: Game week arrives for AISA

New Lanier coach Marvin Cunningham works out his team in preparation of the season opener against Robert E. Lee on Aug. 19. (Staff Photo)

By Graham Dunn
RRS Editor
(August 8, 2016)

Trinity Presbyterian head football coach Randy Ragsdale looked over his crew in the final minutes of practice and said the words most wanted to hear last Thursday.

It’s time to put on the pads.

“Let’s see what we’ve accomplished these first few days and are we prepared for the next step,” he said to his team.

Every team in the River Region went “live” by last Friday going into full gear. A few teams held their first scrimmage over the weekend, targeting the opening week of the season. For most that’s Aug. 18-19.

Teams spent the first two days in shorts and followed with shells for two days. Fighting heat and lightning threats, teams had to adjust practice schedules.

“It’s why we go so early and so late,” stated G.W. Carver coach Billy Gresham, who put his team on the practice field at 6:30 in the morning last week. “Most of these guys have been in the weight room all summer so the heat doesn’t particularly bother them. But when we see lightning we obviously have to get off the field and that can be frustrating, especially when everybody is geared up to practice.”

Jeff Davis coach Lee Carter started most of his practices in the late evenings and worked until it got dark around 8 p.m. while new Sidney Lanier coach Marvin Cunningham had his team stay on school grounds for three days to improve “team unity” and get an early start each morning.

“We are building this team from the ground up,” Cunningham said. “We wanted them to spend time as much on the field as off to be consistent in work habits. We want them to bring the same mentality so that once game time gets here there will be no complacency.” 

The 2016 season gets a kick start this weekend with a new event. Members of the Alabama Independent School Association will be the host of a new event featuring teams from independent associations in the southeastern states. Cramton Bowl will be the host site of four games beginning Friday with the SECIS Kickoff Classic. While none of the teams hail from the River Region, it is still a taste of what’s to come.

“We’re extremely excited and honored to represent our association and our state,” said Bessemer coach Josh Wright who will bring his team to Montgomery on Saturday to face Lamar School out of Mississippi.

“I think it’s something great the associations have put together and I think it’s great we get to have it in Montgomery in such a historical place as Cramton Bowl.”

Escambia Academy is scheduled to play on Saturday against First Baptist of Charleston, S.C. at 5 p.m.


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